Highlanders Second Team Open PCSL Season With Win

Photo: David Martin

VICTORIA, B.C. – The Victoria Highlanders Second Team opened their Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) season with a 3-1 win over the Mid Isle Mariners on Thursday, May 16th. Owen Stewart opened the scoring for the home side and Adoubacar  Cisse registered a brace to help lead the Highlanders to the season opening win.

The first half was an evenly played 45 minutes as both teams traded chances and settled into their styles of play. The home side struck first in the 16th minute. Cam Hundal let a shot go that was stopped by the Mariners’ goalkeeper, but the rebound found its way to Stewart who made no mistake and converted his chance for the 1-0 lead.

As the half progressed, the Highlanders became more comfortable in their attacking plays and started to tighten up the midfield. After 45 minutes, the Highlanders held a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The second half saw the Highlanders make five changes and continue to control the pace of play against Mid Isle. One of those subs, Adoubacar Cisse, made the most of the change and gave the home side a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute. Pressure from the forward group resulted in Ian Whibley finding Cisse with a heads-up pass, before Cisse fired the shot into the bottom right side of the net past the ‘keeper.

Mid Isle pushed back, looking for the equalizer, but the Highlanders were able to keep them at bay and turn aside a couple dangerous looks. Cisse secured his brace off a hard-working goal that saw him step over at the top of the box before firing a hard shot into the right corner of the net for the 3-0 lead in the closing minutes.

The Mariners pressure eventually paid off as they were able to break up the clean sheet and convert on an offensive rush just before the final whistle was blown. After 90 minutes, the Highlanders walked away with a 3-1 win and an important three points in their opening game of the season.

“It is a great way to start the season. We made many changes and all 17 players played at least a half,” stated head coach Nico Craveiro. “We need players to start playing more together and we will only become better in time. There are things we need to work on but overall that is a good way to kick off the season. Joey Seo and Rees Gertzen played a very good 90 minutes in the back line and the younger players did well throughout the field.”

The Highlanders Second Team are back in action on Saturday, May 25th as they visit Surrey United. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. at Cloverdale Athletic Park #5. For more information on the PCSL, and the Highlanders Second Team schedule, head to www.pcsl.org.com